Sports roundup: KIF, NFL, Puig highlight week

So much to talk about, so much to choose from. A big week sets up nicely for a veritable buffet of news items. Here’s a Friday roundup to get you happy and well fed:

IT ALL STARTS TONIGHT, as the Kapaa Warriors open up the 2013 football season with a preseason home game against the Nanakuli Golden Hawks at Vidinha Stadium. Junior varsity will get the first go at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity showdown at 7:30 p.m.

You only get one chance at a first impression and Kapaa will be the squad to show what this year’s Kauai Interscholastic Federation could have in store. Nanakuli arrives on the heels of a semifinal berth at the 2012 Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II championships. The Golden Hawks will pose a definite test to the Warriors, who are hoping to improve upon last season’s second-place finish in the KIF standings.

On Saturday, it will be Waimea’s turn to set the tone for 2013. The Menehune will host the Anuenue Rainbows at 2 p.m. at Hanapepe Stadium. This will be the first of three preseason games for Waimea, while Kapaa has just two tune-ups before the regular season gets in full swing on Aug. 30.

WAY BACK ON JUNE 9, I wrote that the Los Angeles Dodgers — despite sitting in last place in the National League West — had a good chance to get back in the mix and compete for the division title. Well, since that date, the Dodgers have gone 36-17 (.679 win percentage) and held a five-game division lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks entering Thursday’s action.

So I guess you Dodger fans all know who to thank for that.

Oh, you said Yasiel Puig? I was expecting you to say me, but you said Yasiel Puig. Yeah, that’s a fair point. I suppose we can share in the appreciation.

When I wrote about Puig that day and how his spark could be the confidence boost the Dodgers needed to get back in the hunt, I admit that I didn’t expect the turnaround to be so drastic and so immediate. Not only has L.A. turned things around, they appear to be one of the elite teams in the league and continue to separate themselves from the rest of their NL West foes.

Since arriving on June 3, the rookie Puig has hit .374 with 11 home runs and an OPS of 1.023. So, sure, I can see why you said he was the person to thank. But I’ll take any leftover mahalos.

THE NFL GOT ITS PRESEASON fully underway with a large slate of games Thursday night. The first week of preseason doesn’t mean anything, but it sure is nice to just see the players on the gridiron. I have a full NFL preview in store for Sunday, so stay tuned.

THE FINAL MAJOR OF THE PGA SEASON began Thursday and Jim Furyk and Adam Scott share the lead at 5-under after the opening 18 holes of the PGA Championship. Fresh off his British Open title a few weeks ago, Phil Mickelson sits at 1-over par, as does Tiger Woods, who crushed the field at last week’s Bridgestone Invitational.

Woods is staring at his fifth consecutive year without a major victory. Over the 12-year span from the 1997 season through 2008, Woods won at least one major nine times. With his total sitting stagnant at 14 since winning the 2008 US Open, Woods has a host of good players and a six-stroke deficit to overcome if he hopes to end what is considered a drought for the game’s best player.

IT’S TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE FOR NCAA Commissioner Mark Emmert, as he said the NCAA online store will no longer sell player jerseys, as it’s “not appropriate.” Commissioner, your organization is built on the hard work and elite skills of those who provide you with everything and who receive a pittance for which you feel they should be eternally grateful. Quit attempting to play the role of the well-meaning taskmaster when you’re far more convincing as the hustler.

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